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The Purple Emperor (The Faerie Wars Chronicles Series #2)

The Purple Emperor (The Faerie Wars Chronicles Series #2)

4.2 60
by Herbie Brennan

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Henry Atherton, his faerie prince friend Pyrgus, and Pyrgus's fearless sister, Holly Blue, return in this fantastic adventure to save the Faerie Realm from the evil Hairstreak and his henchmen, Chalkhill and Brimstone. With the help of forest faeries, some silk mistresses, a sewer-dwelling creature of unknown dimensions, and additional creatures magical and


Henry Atherton, his faerie prince friend Pyrgus, and Pyrgus's fearless sister, Holly Blue, return in this fantastic adventure to save the Faerie Realm from the evil Hairstreak and his henchmen, Chalkhill and Brimstone. With the help of forest faeries, some silk mistresses, a sewer-dwelling creature of unknown dimensions, and additional creatures magical and otherwise, the three intrepid young friends find their way from exile back to the home they all would die to preserve and protect.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The sequel to Faerie Wars, which, according to PW, "will bring much pleasure to fans of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series, and to fantasy readers in general," takes readers back to the realm of Pyrgus Malvae and his royal family in The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan. Though the first book's battle saw the defeat of Lord Hairstreak and the Faeries of the Night, you can't keep a bad faerie down. Hairstreak and his minions are back with a sinister plan to take over the Faerie Realm: using dark magic, Hairstreak resurrects the recently assassinated Purple Emperor-Pyrgus's father-and turns him into a zombie servant. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Henry thought that he, Pyrgus, and Holly Blue were done battling evil in the Faerie Realm. However, after transporting back to the Realm, Henry finds that things are in worse shape than ever. Pyrgus and Holly Blue's dead father has been resurrected by the evil Hairstreak and is now under his control. Rather than being crowned Purple Emperor, Pyrgus, along with Holly Blue, are exiled. Once Henry finds his friends, they have to figure out a way to set things right, despite certain surprising revelations and a very near brush with death. Brennan makes this return to the Faerie Realm even more enjoyable than the first. His attention to detail, from the land itself to Henry's experiences as a human in a Faerie world, allows the Realm to be a truly fantastic yet believable place. The revelation at the end will surprise everyone and adds further dimension to an already engaging tale. Fans of "Faerie Wars" will not be disappointed by this sequel, while people unfamiliar with the first book will have little trouble following the characters and action. A must-have for fans of fantasy and faeries. 2004, Bloomsbury, Ages 12 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
Brennan continues the adventures of Henry, Pyrgus, Holly Blue, and Mr. Fogarty as well as their various nemeses from The Faerie Wars (Bloomsbury, 2003/VOYA June 2003). The book opens as Pyrgus prepares for his coronation as Purple Emperor, but he is interrupted by the arrival of his father, newly raised from the dead and controlled by the evil Lord Hairstreak. Through Prince Comma, the new Emperor-Elect whom Hairstreak also manipulates, Hairstreak immediately banishes Pyrgus and Holly Blue, who must search for allies to help regain control of the Realm. Brennan's writing remains clever and humorous, and there is one genuine surprise. For the most part, however, the story feels arbitrary, as if the entire book could have been condensed into fifty pages setting the stage for the real plot. Short chapters, with cliffhanger endings reminiscent of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, shift the viewpoint often enough to cause confusion, in particular between villains Chalkhill and Brimstone, who are difficult to tell apart. Meanwhile after Henry spends most of the book searching for his friends while overcoming random obstacles, the good guys must navigate an actual maze with deadly traps, further contributing to the Dungeons and Dragons atmosphere. Many young adults likely will enjoy the adventure flavor, and the first book's popularity undoubtedly will lead to many requests for this volume. Brennan's writing remains good enough that a third book will be welcome, but he needs to reestablish the significance of the Realm to ensure continued devotion. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Bloomsbury, 432p.,Ages 15 to 18.
—Amy Sisson
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In the sequel to Faerie Wars (Bloomsbury, 2003), trouble stirs again in the Faerie Realm. The Emperor is dead, and Prince Pyrgus has doubts about whether he is ready to rule. Machinations by evil Lord Hairstreak threaten to take that decision away; the Emperor's body disappears while lying in state and reappears as an animated zombie who disinherits Pyrgus in favor of his half brother, Comma. Pyrgus, his sister Princess Blue, Henry (a human teenager who has access to the Faerie Realm), and Mr. Fogarty (another human and Pyrgus's advisor) team up with the feral Forest Faerie, who are led by Nymph, another strong princess who comes across remarkably like Blue. As in the first volume, pacing and inventiveness offer a rollercoaster ride; unfortunately, characterization and plot are often thin. The subplot concerning Henry and his family problems in his (our) world is dropped completely, and he does little but feel useless and pine after Princess Blue. Blue is still a strong female character, but events are rarely shown through her eyes, making it difficult for readers to identify with her. Subplots that involve a wangaramas wyrm (a telekinetic parasite intent upon revolution) and Brimstone (a demonologist) and his continued dealings with Hael (Hell) are by far the most entertaining portions of the novel, but don't stand alone. Overall, this story will please fans of the first volume but is not likely to win new readers.-Karyn N. Silverman, LREI-Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Henry, Pyrgus, Blue, and Mr. Fogarty once again battle the Faeries of the Night in this somewhat disjointed but colorful sequel to Faerie Wars (2003). The last Purple Emperor, Pyrgus and Blue's father, has been raised from the dead and is transferring power to the bad guys. Henry scrambles to leave the Analogue World (our world) and make it to the Faerie Realm to help his friends. All sorts of nefarious schemes are afoot. For the gross-out factor, verbose worms are implanted in people's butts and speak to them inside their brains. Brennan cuts chapters off sharply, maintaining heated suspense, but the ultra-quick pinballing between threads is sometimes frustrating. Henry's first-installment vulnerability about his parents' divorce is replaced here by a crush on Blue, leaving this volume with less poignancy at its heart; still, this fast-paced adventure with occasional red herrings will please readers who already like the characters. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)
From the Publisher

“A master of the hairpin turn, leading readers in one direction and suddenly reversing their expectations . . . Brennan excels at maintaining suspense.” —New York Times

“This sequel is off to a galloping start . . . and the conclusions promise more to come.” —Booklist on Purple Emperor

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Faerie Wars Chronicles Series , #2
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.40(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Purple Emperor

By Herbie Brennan

Bloomsbury USA

ISBN: 1-58234-880-4

Chapter One

Mr Fogarty's house was at the end of a short cul-de-sac. The front windows were partly boarded up, which gave it a deserted, derelict appearance. But Henry knew they'd been boarded up while Mr Fogarty still lived there, so the neighbours wouldn't notice any difference. And nobody with any sense would try to visit him. Mr Fogarty had broken his last visitor's arm with a cricket bat.

Henry had a full set of keys, but he avoided using the front door and walked around the back. It was gloomy there as always - Mr Fogarty had erected an enormously high fence to stop the neighbours spying on him - and there wasn't much to see: just a grey, mossy patch of lawn and the garden shed beside the buddleia bush where Henry had first met Pyrgus. He walked down to the bush - it was one of Hodge's favourite haunts - and called out, 'Hodge! Come on Hodgie, suppertime!'

Hodge must have been lurking in the undergrowth, because he emerged at once, tail up, and polished Henry's ankle. 'Hello, Hodge,' said Henry fondly. He sort of liked the old tomcat, even though he'd made the place a killing field for rats, mice, birds and rabbits.

Henry walked towards the back door, taking slow, careful steps on account of Hodge making figures of eight between his feet. When he unlocked the door and pushed it open, Hodge ran in ahead of him, eager for his pouch of Whiskas. Mr Fogarty had always fed him some foul-smelling stuff that looked like puke and cost less than 25p a tin. Hodge ate it under protest, but liked pouch Whiskas better. He'd never smooched Mr Fogarty the way he smooched Henry.

Henry opened the cupboard, took out two pouches and Hodge's special tin plate.

'You're ruining that cat - you know that,' a voice growled from the shadows.

Henry was so startled he dropped the plate, which clattered loudly on the kitchen tiles. Hodge squawked in protest and bolted for the door.

Chapter Two

'Scaredy-cat!' sniffed Her Serene Highness, Princess Holly Blue.

'I'm not a scaredy-cat!' Pyrgus protested. 'I just want to see exactly what he'll be doing.' He leafed ostentatiously through the pattern book. Lavish animation spells caused the butterfly illustrations to writhe and stretch their wings.

'You know exactly what he'll be doing,' Blue said fiercely. 'They're traditional designs - they haven't changed in years! And you saw them often enough on Daddy.' Her eyes clouded. 'While he was alive.'

'I know, I know,' said Pyrgus. He turned another page.

'Well, what are you waiting for?'

Pyrgus mumbled something under his breath.

'What?' asked Blue sharply.

'Don't like needles,' Pyrgus mumbled just a little louder.

They were in the Emperor's private quarters - Pyrgus's private quarters now - in the Purple Palace. The Royal Herticord had been waiting outside for nearly an hour.

'I know you don't like needles,' Blue said, not unkindly. 'But you have to have it done. And you have to have it done now, otherwise they'll still be itching at your Coronation. You can't have the new Purple Emperor scratching through the ceremony - people will think you have fleas.'

'I could use a healing spell,' Pyrgus said.

'You could pull yourself together,' Blue told him shortly. 'You've sent that poor man away twice already. Just grit your teeth and get it over with.'

'Oh, all right,' Pyrgus said with bad grace. He nodded to the footman standing like a statue by the door. 'Show him in.'

The footman swung the door open with a flourish. 'Sir Archibald Buff-Arches,' he announced loudly. 'The Royal Herticord.'

The man who strode in reminded Blue a little of her old enemy Jasper Chalkhill. He was overweight, and had a taste for extravagant clothing - he was wearing a short-silk robe woven with illusion spells so that misty nymphs swam through its folds. But that's where the resemblance ended. His eyes showed he was no Faerie of the Night, and he walked with purpose. Two wiry helpers manoeuvred in a trolley spread with multi-coloured pots, several bottles and a tray that displayed Pyrgus's dreaded needles.

The Herticord bowed formally to Pyrgus. 'Your Imperial Majesty,' he acknowledged. He turned to Blue and made a lesser bow. 'Your Serene Highness.' She noticed he had very delicate hands. They were rather beautiful.

'My brother's ready for you,' Blue said quickly before Pyrgus could change his mind.

Pyrgus gave her a dirty look, but had obviously decided to go through with it. He turned to Buff-Arches with exaggerated dignity. 'I'm in your hands, Herticord. Let's get it over with.'

The two helpers were busying themselves opening jars and bottles and laying out a range of gleaming instruments beside the needles. Blue saw Pyrgus turn a little green. The trolley looked as if they were preparing for major surgery.

'I expect His Majesty would like to know his options,' Buff-Arches said briskly.

Pyrgus stared at him and Blue's instincts told her that if her brother was going to chicken out at all, this would be the moment. But all he said was, 'Options?' Yse, I'd like to know my options.'

'Traditionally,' said Buff-Arches, 'the tattoos are done without anaesthetic or magical intervention of any sort, save for a small transfusion should royal blood loss exceed two pints in any single hour -'

'Blood loss?' Pyrgus squeaked. 'Two pints an hour?'

'Oh, it seldom reaches anything approaching that amount,' Buff- Arches said easily. 'Unless, of course, one happens to sever an artery when preparing the Royal Transposition.'

'The Royal Transposition?' Pyrgus echoed. Blue moved nonchalantly a little closer in case he fainted.

'A deep tissue sample used to gauge the effect of the dyes. A safety precaution in case of allergic response. I tattoo the sample first - with a picture of a bee - then, if there is no reaction, we proceed with the formal illustration of Your Majesty's body. The tissue sample is normally taken from the royal buttocks.'

Blue fully expected Pyrgus to protest. She certainly would have - a tissue sample of that sort meant you couldn't sit down for a week. But all Pyrgus said was, 'Why a bee? Why do you tattoo the sample with a bee?'

'I haven't the slightest idea,' Buff-Arches said. 'It's simply the specified picture - specified by tradition, you understand.' He watched Pyrgus for a moment, as if expecting further questions, then said abruptly, 'But I was explaining your options. As I say, the traditional way involves no anaesthetic or magical intervention, but one of your illustrious ancestors, Emperor Scolitandes the Weedy, decreed henceforth all Purple Emperors might elect to have their official tattoos carried out under general or local anaesthetic -' he gestured towards some bottles on the trolley, '- these herbal tinctures here. Or, alternatively, that the candidate might light a spell cone that would render him temporarily immune to pain.' He paused expectantly, then added, 'Perhaps you Imperial Majesty would care to tell me the potion of his choice?'

Pyrgus was staring at the tray. 'what are those instruments for?' he asked. 'The tissue sample?'

'Oh no, sire. Your Majesty will recall that my secondary duty as Herticord is to shave Your Majesty's head in the Royal Tonsure. The tools look a little off-putting, but that part if the procedure is quite painless, I assure you. Unless Your Majesty has a twitch, of course.'

'Do we have to do the shaving thing?' Pyrgus asked. He was a bit vain about his hair.

Buff-Arches nodded briefly. 'Yes, we do. Your Majesty is titular had of the Church of Light, so the tonsure is wholly appropriate. But if Your Majesty wishes, I can retain the shaven hair and have it made into a little wig for Your Majesty to wear when he is not engaged in State occasions.'

'Yes,' Pyrgus said quickly. 'Yes, you do that.'

'And Your Majesty's options? The anaesthetics, the spell cone...?

'What did my father do?' Pyrgus asked.

For the first time Buff-Archers's expression softened. 'Your father, sire, opted for the traditional approach - no spells, no anaesthetics. He didn't even require my assistants to hold him down.'

Blue felt herself tense. It was only weeks since their father was murdered - and murdered horribly with an analogue World weapon that had destroyed most of his face. But Pyrgus and their father had seldom seen eye to eye. It had got so bad at one stage that Pyrgus had left home and lived in the city as a commoner. Would he follow his father's example now? 'Then I shall do the same,' said Pyrgus grandly. He began to unbutton his breeches.

Blue left discreetly. She was proud of her brother, delighted with his choice. But she had no desire to be there when they took the tissue sample from his bottom.

There were still a million things to do before the Coronation. Gold leaf for the Cathedral, spell candles for the nave, gifts for the congregation, musicians, the celebratory games, rabbits for the Official Distribution, the Honour Guard, the clerical bribes, the State Barge, the seven conjuration troupes, the Endolg Chorus, the Male Companion - Pyrgus wanted Henry for that and Blue wasn't even sure Gatekeeper Fogarty had contacted him yet - the Female Companion, which would be Blue herself, except she still hadn't had her fitting for the dress, the Grand Salute, the new statue in the Great Square, the reception menu... the list went on and on.

And all of it was down to Blue since Pyrgus wouldn't take it seriously.

She was hurrying towards her own rooms and the dreaded To Do list when she decided on impulse to get the fitting over with. She turned down a steep flight of narrow stairs that led to the servants' quarters. It wasn't an area of the palace she normally visited - when the Princess Royal needed something, servants came to her - but tradition had it that the gown worn by the Female Companion should be woven from the finest spinner silk with no spell reinforcement.

Ridiculous, but that was tradition for you. Everybody knew spinner silk was the most fragile substance in the world until it set. Afterwards, of course, it was the strongest. The trouble was, to get the astonishing form-fitting folds that made spinner dresses so desirable, you had to try the garment on before the fabric set. You had to try it on carefully. At least, you had to try it on carefully when you weren't allowed to use a stasis spell. If you were lucky, the whole thing didn't fall apart and you had the most wonderful gown in the realm. If you weren't, the Silk Mistresses made up another one (at hideous expense) and the whole process began again.

Most clients, even nobles, visited the Mistresses in their trading lodges above the spinner pits. It was only by a very special concession to the Princess Royal that her Coronation gown was being constructed in the Palace itself. Blue would have been happy to give the Mistress a state apartment, but they insisted on setting up their workshop in the servants' quarters. Blue discovered the reason when she entered it.

'Why's it so cold in here?' she demanded, her breath frosting.

One of the Silk Mistresses glanced up from her bench. If she was impressed by the sudden appearance of the Princess Royal, she didn't show it. 'The fabric is unworkable at higher temperatures' she said.

Blue shivered and hugged herself. 'I've come for the fitting,' she said shortly. 'Is everything ready?'

The Mistress stood up and walked towards her. She was a tall, elegant matron with waist-length hair and her own gown was divine. That was the great thing about spinner silk. It made any woman look wonderful; any woman who could afford it, that was.

'Of course, Serenity. Please follow me.'

Blue allowed herself to be led across the workshop. The Mistresses had moved their entire operation into the palace, to judge from the garments they were creating. Blue hoped they hadn't moved their spinners in as well. She like arachnids - she even owned an illegal psychotronic - but silk spiders were the size of terriers, too large even for her.

The Mistress opened a door to a second room, smaller than the first and empty of workbenches. There was a stunning purple and gold gown draped over a wooden form and illuminated by a gently glowglobe. The fabric shimmered as if enchanted.

Despite herself, Blue sucked in her breath. It's amazing.'

The Mistress smiled lightly. 'Indeed, Serenity.'

On impulse Blue said, 'What's your names, Silk Mistress?'

'Peach Blossom, Serenity.'

'It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, Peach Blossom,' Blue said sincerely. She took a step closer to the garment. Although the temperature of this room was perhaps a degree or two higher than that in the workshop, her breath was still frosting. 'Do I have to undress to try it on?' 'Yes, Serenity. It will fit, of course, but your body heat will set the material to conform to your figure now and forever. Assuming you don't tear it as you put it on.'

'I'll be careful,' Blue promised.

The material felt... elusive. Not quite slippery, yet somehow distant, as if it belonged in another dimension. Blue desperately wanted to put it on quickly - the room was so cold she was already shivering - but forced her numbing fingers to move with slow deliberation. The gown slid over her head and down her body like a slick of perfumed oil. She felt warmer at once and sensed the catalytic process as the spinner threads began to set.

'Well, done, Serenity!' Peach Blossom said. 'You may move now - it's quite safe.' Blue moved and the gown moved with her. She was suddenly energised, as if someone had lit a euphira cone.

'You look wonderful, Your Highness,' Peach Blossom said. 'Please come through and show the other Mistresses.'

Although Blue had never thought much about her appearance, she thought about it now. She felt graceful. She felt beautiful. She felt as elegant as the Silk Mistress herself. Her movements were a dance. No wonder the Mistresses could command such high prices for their designs: the effect of wearing one was quite extraordinary.

There was a burst of spontaneous applause as she walked back into the workroom. Several of the Silk Mistresses even stood up, smiling their delight. Blue smiled back in sincere appreciation, but at that moment of triumph an unexpected thought occurred: just wait until Henry Atherton sees me in this!


Excerpted from The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Herbie Brennan is the author of many books for adults and children including Fairy Nuff, Nuff Said, and Faerie Wars. He lives in County Carlow, Ireland.

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Purple Emperor (The Faerie Wars Chronicles Series #2) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just as good as the other books in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it a lot better than the first. The plot was more unpredictable and action packed. Can't wait to read the third!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the characters and the series more and more with every book!  Lots of twists and turns make the book unpredictable and a page turner.  Love the humor, too!  I couldn't put the books down and had to read all the books in the series!  
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